We all know people who are set in their ways. I used to be one of them. I had reached a certain age, and I thought I had my life pretty well figured out, though I was a hot mess inside. But what was on the inside was mostly hidden and I wanted to keep it that way: shame, guilt, appearances. Oh dear, what would people think? I had made my deal with the Devil and still thought I could skate through life without needing to change.
Then my middle child, struggling with depression, turned to substance abuse. From then on my carefully manicured world started to collapse. Seeing my beautiful daughter transform herself into an immoral stranger absolutely broke me. It absolutely broke me. And like a broken glass, that’s how the light started to get in. But not all at once. It was a slow wheel, my road to recovery from this. And—surprise, surprise—I learned to carve out a lane for myself, for my own recovery. Why? Because until I learned to rescue myself, I was in no position to help my daughter. The blind leading the blind!
In the rooms they tell us that “we will love you until you learn to love yourself.” I never in a million years thought that I could banish the Devil from my life. But I have, though He tries to visit sometimes. I tell him I don’t need to punish myself anymore. It’s not my fault, what happened to my daughter. Or to me…or to my father…or to my grandfather and aunt. It’s a disease, a complicated family disease. And there is a healthier lane called “Freedom from Suffering” that I try hard to remain in.
I turn to look at my daughter and the lane she’s in. It breaks my heart, my eyes well up with tears, and I grieve for the lost years with her. But I don’t stay there. There are so many others in my life for me to be thankful for. I keep my focus on them.
My years in recovery have changed my perspective and taught me that happiness is not getting what I want. It’s being grateful for what I get.